It is true that while 70 % of our bodies are water; many of us do not hydrate for functional health. Although we may consume many beverages throughout the day we may not be getting the proper hydration or benefit from what we drink. For those of you who do not hydrate at all you will find this article super encouraging to start sipping. Water is one of the seven essential nutrients. Essential meaning that our human bodies need to obtain the nutrients from external sources for optimal health since we do not produce them. Drink up!
It all comes down to our daily drinking habits to optimize our health and did you know that our water drinking habits can even promote weight loss?? Let us explore some benefits of healthy hydration habits for improved digestion, increased metabolism and check out my top tips to keep optimally hydrated daily, especially as we lead up to the hotter, drier months of the year. You will be surprised to find some of my favourite food and drink ideas while reading and key tips on how to be more mindful about keeping a balanced when hydrating through the day.
Drinking water with meals is not the best for our digestion! Drink right with these tips.
Our elders were right. This is because the nutrient water in ancient meal combining practices spends only 15 minutes in the stomach, whilst other foods spend 1-6 hours depending on the food before moving through the rest of the digestive system. Water maintains spinal and cognitive health while also improving our circulation according to Ayurveda teachings.
While optimal digestion works when choosing nutrients in alliance with their digestive time it is important to note also that with waters pH, usually being 7 or in the case of alkaline water 8-9, drinking water with meals is likely to skew the ph levels in the stomach which best function at more acidic ph levels, especially when consuming animal proteins and fats. Therefore consuming water with meals leaves room for undigested foods to leak down into your system which can promote leaky gut or inflammation. Having a sip or two of room temperature water during meals is not going to have drastic effects, as consuming a glass or two while eating a meal will, but to be safe it’s best to hydrate first thing in the morning and between meals.
Not only does it help stimulate the digestive tract first thing in the morning for a healthier digestive system, but it helps to reduce many ailments! In the era of gut health we are well aware that a happy gut is a happy mind and body. This habit helps to create new blood cells as well as muscle cells that aid in weight loss. Hydrating first thing on an empty stomach fills our tummies which may help us to make more conscious choices at breakfast when trying to make healthier choices whilst also recharging our bodies with fresh oxygenated blood. This helps to take care of the functionality in our bodies and gives the colon a chance to absorb nutrients with more efficiency.
Boost your metabolism by drinking water when you rise on an empty stomach
After a night’s rest our body’s are dehydrated. Waking up and hydrating in the morning encourages our bodies to eliminate stagnant waste in our digestive tracts. Adding water to your morning ritual is one of the top habits to keep for optimal human functionality. Early morning hydration also supports the health of our DNA and mitochondria which provides our youngevity and energy. Water is life and Medical Daily confirms that an increase in our metabolic rate allows the body to burn more calories and can help the kidneys and gastrointestinal tract function better. Research shows that 16 oz cold or hot water in the morning on an empty stomach can help boost the metabolism by up to 24 %. Cheers to that !
There you have it, one small tweak to your morning routine can have you burning more fat.
Let’s go over the “to-do’s” of hydrating
When should you drink?
- Shawn Stevenson fitness expert, author and podcast host suggests that drinking water is like giving our bodies an inner bath and I love this analogy because who doesn’t feel awesome after a refreshing bath. The best time to drink is first thing in the morning, on an empty stomach and preferably 35-45 minutes away from eating. While this is not always applicable given our busy everyday lives, because we are aware that water takes 15-20 minutes to leave the stomach, that would be the minimum recommended time between eating.
How much should you drink?
- 0.5 oz / lb of body weight
- Drink when you are thirsty and especially when perspiring and living in warmer climates.
Would you rather eat or drink your hydration?
What should you be drinking to stay hydrated?
- Green Juices
- Homemade low sugar iced tea
- Grass fed natural soup and broths
- Coconut water
- Pure Water
- Alkaline water
- Lemon water with pink Himalayan salts
- Add cucumbers to water for that spa feel
- Herbal decaf teas
Hydration is not only what you drink. It’s also what you eat!
Hydrating foods include watermelons and strawberries which contain over 90 percent water. Grapefruits and cantaloupe are great choices!
Below is a list of my favourite hydrating foods:
How should you drink for functional health?
- Warmer temperatures according to Ayurveda are great for digestive processes and colder temperatures are great for metabolic increases, while hotter water like teas can also be great for the metabolic effect.
- Sitting down to drink has been shown to be the best for the joints. Older practitioners suggest that drinking water while standing encourages us to drink too quickly by which they recommend that this isn’t great because no food or nutrient should be consumed too quickly. Also in regards to arthritis drinking water standing may disturb the balance of body fluids and causes excessive fluid in the joints leading to arthritis. Ayurveda suggest we ought to be in rest and digest mode to consume nutrients instead of fight or flight response which drinking water standing promotes.
What types of water are best?
- Alkaline water
- When scientists have tested alkaline water on mice, results modestly slowed ageing. This research suggests that the trace elements found in these alkalising waters may be an important factor for health and longevity.
- Filtered water
- According to a study in China high quality drinking water is an important factor for longevity. Filtered with neutral ph helps to verify that we are getting quality nutrition from our water enriched with minerals for the most part.
- Mineral Water
- Some places in the world have mineral water naturally occurring from springs which is a great source and if there is tap water without the fluoride and chemicals these would be smart options.
The golden hours are known as the early morning hours in the day to squeeze in healthy habits. It’s a great way to start start the day by putting water into our body to get our systems cleansing and moving lucid.
Keep a strong digestive system by drinking water on an empty stomach . Preserve the body from oxidative stress with high quality waters and stay hydrated with hydrating food and drink choices this summer.
Keep your weight in check by choosing water and recommended beverages as the researchers from Harvard Health recommends Drinking water is the King of beverages and found that the participants who drank the most plain water in their daily diet consumed fewer total calories, drank fewer sweetened beverages, and took in less total fat, saturated fat, sugar, salt, and cholesterol!
We can eat and drink our hydration which is pretty a fun concept and let us remember to be smart about the sources we choose. Jazz up your water with fruits and herbs. Remember that drinking slowly is a good idea and aim to stay within daily allowance for the average person since there is such a thing as drinking too much. Oh and for sustainability purposes having extra water lying around is better off in the plants than down the sink!
Go get your hydration all right today !
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Nutritionist (BSc), Health Coach & Personal Trainer
CEO & Founder Green Balance TT
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